tv Democracy Now LINKTV November 22, 2022 4:00pm-5:01pm PST
amy: alaa abdel fattah, one of the world's most prominent political prisoners. the british-egyptian citizen has spent most of the past decade locked up in egypt. he recently ended a seven-month hunger strike. today we spend with the hour with his mother laila soueif and his sister, sanaa seif. >> the u.s. has a responsibility. you are a big part of this. you send a letter egypt -- send military help to egypt every year. amy: all that and more, coming up. welcome to democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman.
we are broadcasting from cairo, egypt. in colorado, the gunman suspected of shooting and killing five people at club q, an lgbtq+ nightclub in colorado springs saturday night has been indicted on murder and hate crime charges. colorado officials have identified the five victims as daniel davis aston, a 28-year-old trans man who had moved from tulsa, oklahoma, two years ago and worked at the bar club q, kelly loving, a 40-year-old trans woman who had also just moved to colorado, 38-year-old derrick rump, a bartender at club q whose mother described her as "a loving person who had a heart of gold," 35-year-old ashley paugh, who leaves behind an 11-year-old daughter devastated by the loss of her mother, and 22-year-old raymond green vance. richard fierro, a retired
military veteran, has been identified as the person who confronted and disarmed the shooter. fierro was there to watch a drag show with his wife, his daughter, and raymond green vance -- who was his daughter's boyfriend. >> i want those five families to know that's all i care about. i want those in the hospital to get better. please, get better. we went to see a show and have a good time and thank god raymond was smiling and my daughter got to spend his last day with him happy. amy: richard fierro was deployed to iraq and afghanistan four times and said in an interview with "the new york times" the experience still haunts him. he left the army in 2013 due to the brutal psychological and physical toll of war and said he ever thought he would experience the same violence at home.
in pennsylvania, immigrant rights advocates welcomed a second bus full of asylum seekers in philadelphia monday morning, sent by texas republican governor greg abbott. abbott says -- sent at least 13,500 asylum seekers to sanctuary cities, including washington, d.c., and new york. since abbott was re-elected in november he's intensified his hate speech against immigrants, recently comparing the arrival of thousands of asylum seekers at the u.s.-mexico border to an "invasion." it's the same term used repeatedly by the white supremacist gunman charged with killing 23 people at a walmart store in el paso, texas, in 2019 , the deadliest attack on the latinx community in modern u.s. history. the ceo of one of ukraine's largest power companies has asked people to stock up on warm clothing and blankets, warning russia's assault on ukraine's power grid will lead to rolling blackouts throughout the winter. on monday, the world health organization's regional director
for europe dr. hans kluge said ukraine now faces its darkest days of the war so far. >> will be life-threatening for millions of people in ukraine. half of ukraine's energy infrastructure is either damaged or destroyed. this is already having effects on the health system and the people's health. this winter will be about survival. amy: u.s. vice president kamala harris met with philippines president ferdinand marcos, jr. in manila monday, where she vowed the u.s. would expand its military presence in the philippines. her meeting comes amidst growing tensions between u.s. and china over the status of taiwan and as china and the philippines square off over disputed islands in the south china sea. vice pres. harris: and armed attack on the philippines, aircraft, public vessels in the south china sea would invoke
u.s. commitment and that is an unwavering commitment that we have with the philippines. amy: dozens of protesters gathered near the presidential palace in manila denouncing vice president harris' visit and u.s. intervention in the philippines. >> warmongering of united states [indiscernible] we don't want our country to be used as a launching pad for the wars of the united states against china or any other country. we want peace. amy: in indonesia, the death toll from monday's powerful earthquake in west java province has soared to over 260 people while more than 1000 were injured. dozens more are still missing as rescue efforts continue to search survivors in the rubble
of collapsed buildings. many of the victims are schoolchildren. in china, at least 38 people were killed on monday after a fire swept through a two-story factory in central henan province that housed chemicals and other industrial goods. local officials said the fire began after welders allowed arks to fall on cotton fabric, causing it to ignite. according to the hong kong-based china labour bulletin, an average of 75 chinese workers died of workplace-related deaths each day in 2020. in more labor news, members of a union representing u.s. freight rail conductors have voted to reject a tentative labor contract. it's the fourth, and largest, of a dozen rail industry unions to reject the agreement brokered by the biden administration last september. many of those rejecting the deal said the tentative contract failed to address chronic staffing shortages, long hours, and unpredictable schedules. if any of the unions decides to strike, others will honor their picket lines, setting up a potential nationwide strike by more than 100,000 workers as soon as december 9. jeremy ferguson, president of
the international association of sheet metal, air, rail, and transportation workers, or -- said railroad executives can avert a strike by returning to the table to bargain in good faith. >> it was profits above all else. every quarter they wanted to lowetheir operating ratio and they did not worry about pleasing their employees. i think a day of reckong is coming that they're going to have to realize one way or another that they have to treat their employees with respect. amy: in alabama, governor kay ivey has issued a sweeping order pause all executions statewide and ordered a review of alabama's capital punishment system after a series of botched attempts to deliver lethal injections in at least three executions this year. just last week alabama, called off the killing of kenneth eugene smith after officials struggled to establish an iv line for his lethal injection. alabama canceled another execution in september for the
same reason. meanwhile, in missouri, a 19-year-old teenager is urging a federal court to allow her to attend her father's execution next week. corionsa ramey is the daughter of kevin johnson, who's scheduled to die by lethal injection on november 29 after several attempts to halt his death sentence were denied. a missouri law bans people under the age of 21 from being present at an execution. in a statement, ramey said -- "if my father were dying in the hospital, i would sit by his bed holding his hand and praying for him until his death, both as a source of support for him and as a support for me as a necessary part of my grieving process and for my peace of mind." oregon's outgoing governor has pardoned 45,000 people convicted of simple possession of marijuana. democratic governor kate brown also said monday she would void more than $14 million in associated fines and fees.
recreational cannabis use has been legal in oregon since 2016. in a statement, brown said -- "oregonians should never face housing insecurity, employment barriers, and educational obstacles as a result of doing something that is now completely legal, and has been for years." and human rights groups are denouncing the international soccer federation fifa for ordering a ban on any display of support for lgbtq+ rights by players during the world cup in qatar. on monday, fifa said it would issue yellow cards to any players displaying rainbow-colored armbands in support of the onelove anti-discrimination campaign. the head of germany's soccer association joined players, coaches, and fans in denouncing fifa's decision. >> fifa has prohibited statement in favor of diversity and human rights. these are values to which commits itself and its own statutes. this is more than frustrating from our point of view and also
unprecedented event in the history of the world cup, i believe. amy: meanwhile, iran's national soccer team refused to sing the iranian national anthem ahead of its opening match against england monday in a silent gesture of solidarity with anti-government protesters back -- in iran. and those are some of the headlines. this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. we are in downtown cairo, egypt. the nile river flows behind me. today we spend the hour bringing you an interview i did this weekend after we left the u.n. climate summit in sharm el sheikh and flew into cairo. we're in cairo, egypt, in the apartment of laila soueif. she is the mother of alaa abd el-fattah who is imprisoned in egypt for most of the last decade. we are joined right now by laila soueif, a math professor at
cairo university, and her daughter sanaa seif. they just recently visited alaa in prison. they had not seen them for a number of weeks. he has just finished a seven-month hunger fast. the last days of that fast he stopped drinking water during cop is based seven here in sharm el-sheikh, -- cop27, in sharm el-sheikh, not far from here. i wanted to start asking you both about your visit. you came out of it shaken seeing alaa for the first time in quite some time, sitting behind glass as he spoke to you through -- faintly through a phone. talk about what he told you.
>> behind glass, it was disappointing. alaa looked more thin and weak. the last time i saw him was in october. it had been er three weeks. he looked even more frail, even more diminished. i thought he looked shorter, actually. not just then her, but shorter. -- not just thinner, but shorter. he told us afterwards he banged his head against the wall in a complete meltdown. because it was in a glass cabin, you talk to him through a phone so only one person talked to him
at a time. sanaa got most of the visit. [indiscernible] >> he recounted what had happened. on tuesday, he had a meltdown. >> he stopped drinking water on sunday. he stopped his 100 calories the week before that, on the first of november. on sunday, on the first day of cop, he stopped drinking water. and then on tuesday, when he had not been drinking water at all for two days -- i can't tell you what happened. >> they wanted to do a medical
checkup for all the inmates. they were reluctant to record his hunger strike or water strike. they were taken to a medical facility and he insisted on putting his water strike and hunger strike on record and admitting him to the medical facility. the officers started telling him he is not cooperating, that he is refusing to do medical checkup. he said, i'm not refusing i just want my nger strik and water strike to be put on record. then they started -- they got a new officer he did not know and he started dealingith him roughly, talki to him aggressively. so he lo it. he said, i'm not leaving the medical facility. so they forced him back to his cell. he had stopped water for three
days. while they were carrying him back to his cell, he said, i lost it. i don't know what happened, but i kept saying i promise i will do something to myself. i will hurt myself if i am not admitted -- if my hunger strike is not put on record. so when they put him back to his cell, he banged his head on the wall until it bled. this incident happened on the eighth. then on the 11th, on friday, he had calmed down. he was taking a shower and he collapsed in the bathroom. and that is when he fainted and they did the medical intervention in the cell. they took him outside of the bathroom and personnel entered the cell and they did a medical intervention in the cell and he
woke up and was put on ivs, like a salt solution and glucose. he started waking up. he was still unable to move and it would put honey in his mouth. that is how they brought him back to life. what happened on friday -- what happened on tuesday was -- on friday was a near-death experience. he elaborated a lot on how this felt. when he was telling me -- he was really stuck on that moment. he kept saying, "i was relieved. i was shocked how relieved i was this whole thing was over. and then i started doubting whether i'm doing this to resist , am i fighting for life? i what
to be spared of this." a good part of the visit was on this elaboration of him talking about how much he felt relief by this near-death experience. so he decided to take a break from the hunger strike and he started taking food. he wrote us a letter saying, i want to celebrate my birthday with you. in the visit, he was saying, i wanted to decide whether i go back to my hunger strike or not but after the discussion we had and after seeing his psychological state, apparently, you're unstable and vulnerable right now and the important thing is to keep your sanity and
keep you better. he trusts our advice and judgment. >> made a difference to him that he heard for the first time about all that is being done for him. what happened at cop. because he has been completely isolated -- that is part of the point of keeping him from having -- even government newspapers. you can usually guess what is happening even if they put their own take on it. the insistence on not allowing him a radio, not allowing him newspapers -- it is deliberate to isolate him to know what is actually happening. for him, this was all news.
all sanaa and mona had done. >> it was beyond his imagination that there was a fight out there in the street. his horizon was on a music player and the radio and finding a way to come back to life, like, we were on totally different frequencies. i'm telling him, we're going to get you out. we are going to get you out. that, of course, it shocked him and surprised him but also gave him some strength. amy: sanaa, you have galvanized support for alaa and other political prisoners, holding a
sit-in in britain in front of the foreign ministry office with your sister mona. also in the united states, i saw you as you spoke to grassroots groups and you spoke to congressional leaders, talking also about alaa's book. in cop 27, being the spearhead of a movement that is bringing together the issue of climate justice and human rights, did you ever imagine that you could have this effect? >> no, i never imagined -- of course i was planning to try and use the conference to get some attention on my brother and the human rights situation in egypt, but i never imagined i would be so blissfully adopted by the climate movement and they would empower us.
it was overwhelming and really heartwarming. i never imagined the scale of media attention or solidarity. amy: when you spoke to alaa and he talked about the kind of global support he is getting, his statement, any form of political organizing that may solve our global crises has to stem from personal solidarity like this," how did he say this to you through the glass, through that partition? >> that was after he recounted what happened to him. we started telling him about the campaign. so it was starting to hit him and then i gave the speaker to my aunt so she could also recount to him. so it wasn't just me. i saw it in his face, like, it
was starting to hit him that outside of this dark place he is in right now and that is when he said this one sentence that -- like a part of him, this intellectual, political part for a second got awakened. before the visit ended, it became shut again. he closed on again to this. the very dark place he is in right now. but i am glad this part of his character exists and it is present, it just needs to get out of prison for it to really flourish. amy: is alaa planning to go back on a hunger strike? >> in this visit, he was telling me, should i go back tomorrow? i said, no, wait. i give him a date. i'm not going to say that date publicly, but i know they know the date.
i told him, your body needs to rest. but if it comes without me telling otherwise, you go on hunger strike. there is a date set between me and alaa and british authorities. amy: sanaa seif and laila soueif, the sister and mother of political prisoner alaa abdel fattah. we will be back with them in 30 seconds. ♪♪ [music break]
amy: pink floyd's "wish you were here." this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. we continue now with my recent interview here in cairo, egypt, with laila soueif and sanaa seif, the mother and sister of british-egyptian political prisoner alaa abd el-fattah. let me ask you about what you did, before cop you and your sister mona had this sit-in day and night in front of the british foreign ministry through the end of prime minister truss . what was the response in britain and explain what you're demanding. of course, you your sister mona, and alaa himself are british-egyptian citizens. >> bring him home to london. the british government is clear that alaa is a british citizen. what we were very disappointed with is they are accepting the egyptian narrative of not acknowledging his nationality. amy: what kind of response did
you get to your sit in? >> i sat outside the foreign office for 20 days. this is when we started seeing a new level of solidarity for people i did not expect. and so i thought i would be very lonely. i don't know a lot of people in london. but it was very heartwarming the amount of solidarity i saw. we started getting attention -- i got attention from a lot of mps. an hour mp came the first day. we started getting attention from the government near the end, right before cop when we got a phone call from the foreign secretary. and then i got this letter,
response from the foreign minister. amy: after you came out of prison where you saw alaa, you did not go first to the british government to tell them what had happened. he went directly to the media. why, sanaa? >> i was really, really angry and disappointed that while alaa was enduring all of this horrible experience, this was happening at the same time while governments were getting assurances that alaa's health would be preserved. so i was really angry as all of the badoor promises and all of the -- i felt like they were going about it the wrong way, believing in those promises. and this time these are not promises that were made in the dark. like, these were not promises made privately. sisi, president mron of
france said sisi tolhim he committed to preserving al' health. and on that same day -- or on sunday and on the second day, the day after, they dealt with alaa forcibly. so i was feeling angry and i lost faith in that kind of process. amy: laila, tell us about your son alaa. >> there is a special bond between us. because for four years -- for five years, his father was in jail. it was he and alaa, during my
phd, his father in jail, even when mona was born, mona was the baby, he was the big older brother. he was the one helping me. i was remembering today, actually, there was this day in france where i had this horrible cold and i was very ill. i overslept. i woke up terrified because i had overslept with a five-year-old child and six month old baby in a house with nobody to feed them, change. i did not understand why -- had cried. i got up and alaa had taken care of mona. he was six or five. he changed her, played with her
quietly. i said, why didn't you wake me? he said, mama, you were sick. he was always -- because he was older, because we have been close when his father was in jail, there was a very special bond. a very special bond. amy: you were alone taking care of your two children alaa and your six month old baby mona because your husband was in prison. >> at that time he was a communist. he continued to be a communist. but that time he was part of a commonest organization, actually. he was sentenced to five years. it was a bit like alaa's trial
that came out with bail and then arrested again. mona was born while alaa's father was in jail. that is how mona came. we celebrated. [laughter] we got sanaa and he was 12 years old. for him, somewhere between -- somewhere in between, a sister and a daughter. amy: talk about that, sanaa, how alaa was not just a older brother but a father figure to you. 12 years older. >> we have similar tastes in music and art. but also because of the age difference and because of the dynamic, he was also like a mentor to me.
he was always my biggest champion. i was this bohemian child that changed her mind about what i wanted to do with life every month probably, but he was always very excited to the new idea or project. i was sculpting. he would research and find the place and i would learn sculpting for a while and then i decided i wanted to be a vet. he spent a lot of time in research, ok, let's -- and painting. until i settled on film again. by the time i settled on film again, nobody believes me. just wait it out, sleep on it, honey. but alaa was very excited. the first laptop i used for editing, alaa was the one who
got it. everyone pitched in but it was his project. my first ever for making workshop, my first set -- head friends and fell making. they took me with them so i could see a film set. amy: is a film maker, you helped make the oscar-nominated documentary about the uprising at tahrir square. >> i was very resistant -- i did not want to be in politics at the rest of my family. 2011 got me. before 2011, i was very disinterested. i did not wanted know anything about their political activism. it was part of their identity but it was not the dominating part. but 2011 really inspired me.
i was 17. i would the first demonstration. it was really inspiring to me and my whole generation, really. amy: sanaa, when did you first go to prison? you have been in prison for more than three years. >> 2014. amy: three years after the arab spring. >> yes. it was during sisi, of course. i was part of a demonstration calling for the relief of political prisoners and there was a new demonstration law. i was part of it and i got arrested. , motivation then was really personal. -- my main motivation then was really personal. i think if it wasn't for my brother being in prison, i would have tried to step out of that, to just go back to my normal
life. but alaa was in prison so i was advocating for political prisoners. and that is how i got arrested and i was sentenced to three years. but then i got a presidential pardon after a year and three month. amy: you have gone on hunger strike. can you describe how it feels, the stages you go through? >> i was on hunger strike -- i went on hunger strike once for 72 days. i did not take any -- >> [indiscernible] >> water and salt. what happens is by the fifth day, you start feeling hungry. you don't actually -- you don't starve.
somehow the body understands it is not going to get food. but there are phases. the body needs energy, so it starts by breaking the extra fat, using the extra fat to get energy. after that, after it is done with extra fat, it gets into muscles to get energy and that is a very painful phase. after the breaking of the muscle, it resorts to important fats. these are facts that are keeping the organs together, that are in between organs. these are the facts behind the eyes. that is why i was really shocked when i saw alaa in august because his eyes were sunken. i remember when i did my research before my hunger strike, that means we are at the very critical phase. i think by the end, my blood
pressure was very low so i would take salt solutions -- it wasn't enough. i did not accept goes. so i had can --by the end of it, i had fainted or something. i woke up and i found out i am on glucose. but the way they did it was much softer than how my brother explains, like, what i heard from alaa. i was in a hospital. the people dealing with me were doctors. they were not civilians. there were police doctors, but they were doctors. not guards. i wasn't in my cell. amy: this is painful to raise, but you and alaaere in prison when your father died.
>> it is horrible news when you hear anywhere. it was a shock. i got take it would have been easier to grasp if i was outside of prison -- i don't think it would have been easier to grasp if i was outside of prison. knowing that mama and my sister, they don't have us around them. i dealt with it with denial at first. when you lose your fatr, it is horrible news. later, i became angry because i realized -- i recalled his last visit and i recalled he wn't that sick, right? he became more sick. his heart became more sick when i was arrested and when he attended my trial.
that is when i was really fueled with anger. i did not realize the scale -- the viciousness against my family until my father's funeral . after the funeral -- so both of us, me and alaa, we attended the funeral as inmates. amy: can you talk about your husband's life and to of his three children, sanaa and alaa, were both in prison? >> first i want to highlight how different prisons at that time were from now. because it highlights the difference between a regime which is repressive and corrupt and everything but his rational and [indiscernible] during the mubarak era, once
they tortured you and got what they wanted from you, they left you alone to manage. ok, you're in prison, but you could study, you know, whatever. finished his law degree just a few months before being released. his idea was mainly to be a lawyer and to do some pro bono human rights work. and the pro bono human rights work -- wasn't earning any money because of the pro bono. everyone was begging him, just come and work with us because we need you and he became this
amazing human rights lawyer who was really, really, really clear about and focused on human rights. amy: laila, what did it mean to your husband at the end of his life, to have his three children were not with him? >> he even spoke about that. he said this famous code of saying i'm sorry, my son, that instead of my heritage being more free democratic society -- the same cell i wasn. amy: let's talk about the next generation, about alaa's sonk haled who was almost 11.
he is nonverbal. can you talk about the day in 2013 when alaa was arrested at home? >> after the raid, after they forcibly took alaa, we were not sure whether khaled was on the others of the house so police forces entered in the bedroom where alaa and his wife were. khaled was in his room. amy: he was two? >> yes. after the police left, his mom ran to him. we weren't sure whether he was aware and faking sleep or not. afterwards, khaled was diagnosed -- she is on the spectrum. for a while, we were sure whether this is a trauma or whether it he is actually on
spectrum. why is he nonverbal. after a time, it was said he was on the spectrum and he is nonverbal. but khaled has never had a stable life. kids generally need a stable life. kids on the spectrum, kids with autism need a stable life. it doesn't work without his father being in his life. he is really, really attached to his father although they have not spent a lot of time together. when khaled all of a sudden is not allowed to visit alaa, he acts out and gets angry and expresses that. and it is very hard to have
anything stable for khaled because, you know, we negotiate some sort of way to get khaled to visit his father but then they change the rules or they decide behind a glass shield or alaa is now -- was now in a facility where he got tortured and his torture is present during the visit so you can't have a kid present with things that horrible and that epic happened and we have to change khaled's routine. it is very obvious that he is attached to his father and is really angry that the system keeps changing. when alaa was briefly released in 2019, alaa finished his five year sentence and released for six months. and then he was rearrested. although alaa was on probation,
so yet to present himself to the police station from 6:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m., but he still had half the day of freedom from 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. that brief period really mattered with khaled. they built a new beautiful relationship. and even all the people who -- the professionals who work on khaled's case, the speech therapist and psychologists, all of them noticed it is not just our family or his mom, all of them said there has been great improvement. it really matters to the kids to have his father. he is attached to his father needs his father and alaa is very patient, kind father. he reads, likes to do research so whenever he had access to books, he read a light and
studied a lot about autism. a lot of our letters are about that. the brief time where alaa was outcome it was a great time for khaled for right now it is even much worse because he finally had this strong relationship with his father and this was taken from him. amy: sanaa seif and laila soueif, the sister and mother of egyptian political prisoner alaa abd el-fattah. we will come back to them in 20 seconds. ♪♪ [music break]
amy: this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. i am in cairo, egypt, as we return to our interview with laila soueif and sanaa seif, the mother and sister of the british-egyptian political prisoner alaa abd el-fattah, i asked sanaa about alaa's most recent trial when he was sentenced to five years in prison last december and whether they were ever allowed to see the evidence brought against him. >> the lawyers were never allowed access to the case file. the lawyers were never allowed to make a case in the prosecution never made the case, just gave the sentence like that. we only know two facts about this case. we only know two things about this case. the person we know is the only piece of evidence is this paper
post that he shared about a prisoner dying of torture in egyptian prison. amy: it was someone else's facebook post but he shared it. >> but he shared it. the facebook post mentioned a lot of people were tortured and a certain prisoner died. alaa was arrested and kept under the authority of this officer that -- not that tortured him himself, but supervised the torture. this man continues to work -- alaa was transferred from the facility where this man is but we made several complaints against this man and said there is seven data, there's clearly a vendetta because it is in the case file. it is not just because -- there
is a vendetta. and nothing. the other thing we know, by coincidence, by luck, a piece of paper that says when is his release date and his release date is 2027. alaa was arrested in 2019 and sentenced to five years. that is what we all heard in court but his release date is 2027. why? they decided the 2.5 years he spent in pretrial detention is to not be counted. it is pointless to talk about the legal procedure, really. it is a sham. amy: how many years of the last decade has alaa been imprisoned? >> nine. amy: nine of the last 10 years? now with world leaders calling for alaa's release, what gives you hope? >> the fact that all of this
injustice is not happening in a corner hidden somewhere. finally, there's a spotlight on him. i'm not very, very hopeful because i am worried that cop has ended, the cameras will leave also, alaa's strike is broken so that means the urgency that maybe the british government maybe had felt, if they felt urgency, would be -- will fade a little bit. yet we still -- there was a spotlight, a worldwide spotlight on this extreme injustice and that gives me hope. not only for alaa, but for the rest of the political prisoners in the human rights situation in egypt. amy: to know how many political prisoners there are in egypt?
>> the estimate is 65,000. the proper human rights organizations have done the estimate. from my experience, from what i saw, there is no way to get a proper estimate, even if you egyptian authorities themselves want to have an estimate they would not be able to do -- to get a proper estimate because, especially i last arrest in 2019 , things have become really hectic on the ground. there are several agencies. many of those have facilities that do not exist on paper and the national security happens in jails. these are not official prisons. so prisoners are not admitted -- i was in a place -- i am on record. there is a paper trail behind me
so i exist, but even in the facility i was in, there were people who did not exist on paper. officers and inmates. one of the girls arrested from sinai, she had a baby. she went into labor in prison. she did not exist on paper and her baby did not exist on paper. and seeing the scale of this madness, it has escalated starting 2019. that is why i say i cannot believe any estimate because we will never really know the number until the doors are opened. i don't think the authorities themselves are capable of knowing the number. the machine has become so monstrous and so hectic that it is hard to track. amy: in the u.s., have met with who and how high up did the demas go? biden has come to egypt, has met
with sisi. we saw the pictures of them laughing. >> i met with nancy pelosi and samantha power, who is the head of the u.s. aid. before that, when i traveled to d.c., i'd had meetings with the state department, a lot of members of congress and the senate. i also met with some members of the senate. i made a bills to president biden. i know it reached the president. i know of heels reached the white house. i don't know what happened when they met. what i know is during the time president biden was here in egypt, this is when alaa had his near-death experience, right? that was on friday. that is what i know.
so that does not give me a lot of hope. of course, if president biden has push for the case probably, then alaa would be out soon. amy: do you think the u.s. has that much power? >> i don't just think, i know. i know the u.s. has that much power. when i traveled to the u.s., a lot of those politicians and even like aides in congress offices would tell me, we don't have that much leverage, don't understand. there was a vicious campaign against me being a foreign spy, espionage. i was being harassed in sharm el-sheikh millett even physically, people following me and showing me they were following me. amy: egyptians? >> the american administration appeared. all of these people just
disappeared as if you clicked on a button. the state media narrative all of the sudden changed. and instead of saying that alaa 's sister is a spy and we are not going to be forced by the west, things like that, all of the sudden, they started talking about how alaa's sister apply for a pardon and i'm a poor thing, he has a kid on the spectrum, this is really devastating. the u.s. does not only have leverage -- leverage is a bad way of putting it. the u.s. has stakes in that regime. states and that oppression and so has the possibility. it is not leverage. leverage is if you're not a stakeholder. you are a big part of this. you spend $1.3 million to
military aid to egypt every year. >> you trained the police officers. you trained their army officers. the military so dependent on operation with the u.s., so dependent. money. the money is important, but many and bigger money comes -- and so one. but the whole operation is a u.s. operation. the helicopters used to track people in the desert, this is u.s. -- the wholesisi thing is a you a secured operation.
the u.s. can decide if they want to do this or not. >> it does not make sense the way the u.s. engages with sisi's regime. it is in everyone's -- this resume is making the country deeply unstable. the way the u.s. is engaging foreign policy in the region is very, very stupid. it is not wise. it is not even with the interest of the u.s. amy: the name of alaa's book is "you have not yet been defeated." do you think alaa has been defeated? >> certainly i personally think 2011 revolution and this generation have been defeated. on a personal level, alaa --
talked about making an example of alaa. that is probably the main -- the example of someone. that is very, very hard. amy: you are asking alaa be released and deported to britain? >> yeah. either released or deported to prison. i won him safe and out of the country. amy: that is laila soueif and sanaa seif, the mother's sister a political prisoner alaa abd el-fattah. i interviewed them in their family home here in cairo, egypt, this weekend. at that does it for the show. democracy now! is looking for feedback from people who appreciate the closed captioning. e-mail your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org or mail them to democracy now!
♪ ♪ hello and welcome to nhk "newsline." i'm catherine kobayashi in new york. ukrainians are used to cold, but nothing like the bitterness they expect to suffer in the months to come. they've seen russian missiles knock out their sources of power. some say they are steeling themselves for the worst winter of their lives. residents are trying to conserve energy, stocking up on clothes,